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Need inspiration? Here are some popular picks in Ecuador.
Your trip to Ecuador, designed for life long memories
Seized between the Amazon forest and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador envelops everything South America has to offer. The inception of the Andean cordillera splits the country in two, while impenetrable rainforests encircle the oriental part of the country and mangroves act as guardians for the Pacific golden shores.
Further west, history was made in 1835, when a young Charles Darwin landed on the Galapagos Islands and forever perturbed the world with his dissertation “On the Origin of Species”.
From the nineteenth century much has changed in the history of this small country, but the morphological uniqueness has remained intact, thanks also to the efforts of its people, who codified the Rights of Nature within their Constitution in 2008.
This speaks volumes on the democratic achievements of the country, which has always been considered one of the safest places in South America. World Travel Awards named Cuenca the best holiday destination, and Quito the South American leader destination. Besides these colorful colonial cities, the main characters of the
Ecuadorian Andes are the numerous volcanoes looming imperiously. These Andean giants cross the country from North to South and are home to lagoons, glaciers and fertile valleys. Among them, the Chimborazo volcano deserves a major mentioning. Its peak elevation of 6,130 meters above the sea level and its location along the equatorial bulge, indeed, make its summit the farthest point in the World from the Earth's center.
East of the Andes begins the Amazon region, which extends all the way to the Brazilian Atlantic coast. The Ecuadorian rainforest is the perfect area to explore uncontaminated wildlife and experience its compelling variety of animals and plants. Here, the Yasuní National Park has been declared the most biologically diverse region on Earth and hosts 596 bird species, 12 different families of monkeys, 150 classes of amphibians, 117 groups of bats and 5 kinds of big cats.
A little further north, the Cuyabeno Reserve is famous for its lagoons, the rampant flora and the kindhearted indigenous tribes living in the area. As a matter of fact, Ecuador has the third largest indigenous community in South America and two tribes, the Tagaeri and Taromenane, still live in voluntary isolation in certain parts of the Amazon region.
On the western part of the country, the Ecuadorian coast has a lot to offer as well, from the humid woodlands in the north, to the neotropical savannas in the center and the dry forest located near Guayaquil. Along the shoreline, fishing villages and dazzling beaches with crystalline waters frame the Ruta del Sol, also known as Ruta del Spondylus, a 790 km road extending from the northern border with Colombia to the city of Machala, near Peru.
Between June and September, humpback whales choose the Ecuadorian coasts for mating and about 6,000 giant aquatic mammals progressively reach these waters over the period. One of the most recommended places to spot them is Puerto Lopez, hub for day-trips to the most gorgeous beach in Ecuador and to the island where, according to legend, Sir Francis Drake used to hide his treasures. These two beauties are Playa Los Frailes and Isla de la Plata, respectively, both belonging to the National Park of Machalilla. Due to its wild nature and the absence of human traces, many call the island "mini-Galapagos", where it is in fact possible to see birds typical of the archipelago such as the blue footed boobies or the great frigates.
The actual Galapagos Island, instead, are located about 1,000 km from the coast and emerged from the ocean surface around 4 million years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. By virtue of their extraordinary flora and fauna, UNESCO recognized the archipelago in 1978 as a World Heritage Site, in 1985 as a biosphere reserve and in 1990 it became a whale sanctuary inside of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Every island offers great opportunities for snorkeling amidst unique marine species, safely hiking active volcanoes and spotting endemic animals, such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas or flightless cormorant. There are different ways to visit these islands, either by island hopping, land exploration or with a cruise tour, but, in any case, the Galapagos Islands will definitely be the travel of a lifetime.
Pick Ecuador as your next destination: one country, four worlds.